Should I give up/back off?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2009
Should I give up/back off?
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 1:12pm

I became friendly with a young woman in another forum (not ivillage).  Some of her posts to others were interesting, and she seemed kind of fun.  Then I didn’t see any posts or board activity for a few weeks. 

All of a sudden there was a new thread started by her wherein she expanded on lots of problems she’s having:

She is in her 30s, lives at home with her mother and brother, and hasn’t had a job or earned any money in over 3 yrs.

She and her mother fight constantly – screaming matches which sometimes turn violent.

Her mother has called her disgusting and lazy.

She went to school for awhile to be a physical therapist but it didn’t work out.  Now she has a lot of school loan debt which she can’t begin to repay because she doesn’t earn any money.

She said she has been in counseling in the past and is thinking of going back into therapy.  She also said she filled out 10 job applications last week but hasn’t heard anything.


A couple of people encouraged her to continue therapy and suggested (since she likes to crochet) that she register with etsy and try to sell some of her work.

I pointed out a few thing and offered some suggestions:

These days, a person has to do a lot more than fill out applications and wait for a call.  (She should know that after 3 yrs, but I didn’t come out and say it like that.)

I told her to register with temp services and labor pools

Place (free) ads on craigslist to clean houses, babysit, pet sit, house sit, run errands.

Check with social service agencies to find out about living arrangements where she could do chores, cook, etc. in exchange for rent.

She sent me PM thanking me for the ideas, and said she was going to go the library sometime this week to check into things.  Library?  She obviously has internet access (she spends lots of time online) and she doesn’t need to go the library to do the things I suggested. She also said she’s having problems understanding

While I sympathize with her situation, it seems to me she’s making excuses and not all that anxious to earn money to support herself and improve her living situation. Recently she sent me a PM telling me about how she's become involved in some online dispute between two other people (I think this is a poor use of time, and I haven't replied).  Any thoughts?






Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 8:51pm

My thoughts are that you should back off. This woman is a stranger, someone that you know only online, correct? Even if she asks other strangers for advice she has no obligation to follow their suggestions. Some people just like to talk about their problems anonymously. If it bothers you that she doesn't take your advice then don't offer it anymore.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Thu, 04-18-2013 - 5:23pm

The reality is that you really know nothing about this woman's day to day life.  She could have problems that you could never imagine (which may be why she did not finish school, has not had a job in 3 years, etc.).  You have given your suggestions, but now it's up to her to figure out what she wants to do.  Why not back off and not give any more advice since she's clearly not making use of it (and it's bothering you that she's not)?  I would also not get involved in any online disputes she's in, who the heck knows what happened and you only have her side of the story.  She sounds like she spends a LOT of time online, which may be at the core of her other issues.  There are lots of people online with many different problems, I offer suggestions to posters too, but then I'm done.  I have a real life to get back to!  Laughing

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2009
Thu, 04-18-2013 - 9:34pm

Thank you both for replying.  I should know better – online and reality are two very different things.  It kind of bugs me that she extremely long, detailed thread about her problems and asked for hugs because “her mother is abusive, she feels trapped, she’s doing all she can to get her life on track, please give me a hug and help me” etc etc.  Quite a few people sent her hugs and gave her a pep talk and suggestions, but the saying about leading a horse to water comes to mind.  I’m blocking her from PMing me and bowing out.